EDITORIAL: I have to admit I had some unexplained hesitation about jumping on the UBER bandwagon. Something held me back but now I am firmly converted. I tried it out of desperation, working in Sydney and could not get a taxi to the office (it was raining) – I finally used the app that had been sitting idle on my phone for months. And what a great experience.
OK here is what I love about it. There are plenty of drivers around and so far have not experienced much of a wait. And they cost a fraction of a taxi, cars are clean and the drivers earn the majority of the fare. Hence…the drivers are happy to be driving! What a revelation.
They also have diverse stories as to what role UBER plays in their lives. One 70-year old Chinese gentleman tells me he works full time and then drives in the evening, my guy yesterday also has a full-time job but took an extra two days annual leave so he could drive and make extra money for his Bali holiday. Awesome. I love this stuff. People being able to tap into these networks to earn some extra money, make themselves useful or just mix their day up.
I love that their demand is transparent and if it’s really busy and you really want a car you can choose to pay more, or not. I have no problem with paying based on demand, it seems like a fair system.
Is it safe? In many ways it is safer than a normal taxi. You are logged, they know who you are and where you are, and the driver is logged. And no money changes hands as it’s all set up in the app, so less risk for the both parties. Drivers are reviewed each time you ride so quality control is almost real time.
Things that may not work for you. UBER does not get to use the bus / taxi express lanes so not so good for getting to the airport at rush hour. There has been data breaches, where their drivers details were compromised so there is some risk this could happen with your data. There is also robust discussion about transparency on what data they collect and how they plan to use it. This article is a good entry point into the discussion.
But what I have noticed is when one of these cars rock up to pick you up, it feels more like a friend coming to collect you.